Published on November 19th, 2022 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The Difference Between Useless Disciples and Useful Disciples

Some of the disciples strictly accepted the orders of the acarya, and others deviated, independently concocting their own opinions under the spell of daivi-maya. This verse by Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami [in his Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi Lila 12.10] describes the beginning of a schism. When disciples do not stick to the principle of accepting the order of their spiritual master, immediately there are two opinions.

Any opinion different from the opinion of

The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless. Persons who strictly follow the orders of the spiritual master are useful in executing the will of the Supreme, whereas persons who deviate from the strict order of the spiritual master are useless.

Paddy is mixed with straw at first, and one must fan it to separate the paddy from the straw. This example given by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami is very appropriate.

In the case of the Gaudiya Matha members, one can apply a similar process. There are many disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, but to judge who is actually his disciple, to divide the useful from the useless, one must measure the activities of such disciples in executing the will of the spiritual master.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura tried his best to spread the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to countries outside India. When he was present he patronized the disciples to go outside India to preach the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but they were unsuccessful because within their minds they were not actually serious about preaching His cult in foreign countries; they simply wanted to take credit for having gone to foreign lands and utilize this recognition in India by advertising themselves as repatriated preachers. Many svamis have adopted this hypocritical means of preaching for the last eighty years or more, but no one could preach the real cult of Krsna consciousness all over the world. They merely came back to India falsely advertising that they had converted all the foreigners to the ideas of Vedanta or Krsna consciousness, and then they collected funds in India and lived satisfied lives of material comfort.

As one fans paddy to separate the real paddy from useless straw, by accepting the criterion recommended by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami one can very easily understand who is a genuine world-preacher and who is useless.

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About the Author

Founded the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York. In only 11 years he spread the movement all over the world. He wrote more than 80 books including Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Isopanisad. Prabhupada's books constitute a complete library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

11 Responses to The Difference Between Useless Disciples and Useful Disciples

  1. Ramatirthdas says:

    Hare Krishna! Dandavats pranams prabhus,

    I am so glad to open this website clearing my misunderstanding of Lord Krishna’s teachings applying now in present but Srila Prabhupad made it very clearer after watching his explanation on his BhagavadGita As It As We had discourse class on Bhagavatam with some devotees earlier so I made an attempt to study particularly 15 Chapter called : Yoga of the Supreme.!!

    I am very grateful for this website
    Thank you & look forwards for your more instruction & guidance in progressing my spiritual life in Krishna Consciousness.
    Dasanudas—Ramatirthadas Adhikari.

  2. manish kumar says:

    jai SHRI RADHEYSHAYAM* lord bless all, those who are true prechers and those who pretend to be. His holyness blesses everyone(rawan n kansha,by giving them moksha for which knowledgeable dedicate their life.). My humble request is to plese help me find guru(through guru parampara)coz nothing and everthing is senseless and meaningless without guru the 1*

    • Srila Prabhupada is a bona fide guru. You can find out everything from him.

      There is no use blessing the people who pretend to be preachers. They are the greatest demons. One who presents himself as a preacher but who is not himself liberated from the clutches of the modes of material nature is the greatest cheater and the most dangerous person for anyone who is trying to advance in spiritual life.

      We should be wanting to get the blessings of a bona fide spiritual master by submissively serving him and hearing from him, not that we should be trying to bless others. We need to get the blessings, without the blessings how can we bless others?

      Anyhow Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  3. Ian says:

    Why become a disciple if you cannot follow the principles. To many devotees are being pushed into initiation without having braminical qualities, which results in poor quality preachers who set a bad example of braminical culture. If you can’t follow the instruction of your spiritual master drop the act drop the name and keep it real. In my opinion devotees would serve better by at least ‘trying’ to honor varnasrama dharma, more focus on individuals character nurtured by chanting, dancing and feasting less focus on repressing individuals bad habits to make them into something they’re not.

    • James says:

      That is a good point. Kirtans, banjans and Prabhupada lecture bumping on the sterio systems and the temple if there’s not on going on. First class prasadam served like clockwork as well as encourage the study and sales distribution of the authoritive revealed scipture. I think dress code is the least important thing and that how preaching centers should be. Prabhupada did say try to follow the instructions of the spiritual master not copy his style. Just because they can dress like him doesn’t mean as good as good as guru. The audacity of some people.

  4. Gauri says:

    As above mentioned the useless diciples deviating independently conococting their opinion under daivi maya means unnatural way of possesing someone for their personal use or desire.

  5. Vaisnavananda dasa says:

    I’ve read Krsnapriya dasi’s comment, and WOW! I have been asking myself that very same question for the last 3o years. Yes, where has everyone gone? How can we permit so much deviancy in Prabhupada’s institution? I guess many devotees have been abused by the zonal acharya disaster and Pada invasion, and others are simply disgusted or disgruntled and have gone away.

    However, As Madhavisa prabhu states, it is truly up to us to step up to the plate and follow Srila Prabhupada’s orders. Lord Caitanya’s movement has already been prophesied to succeed and spread to every town and village of the world. We just have to contribute our little effort into it. Carry books in your car at all times and preach to at least one person daily. I stock the Science of Self Realization, Sri Isopanishad, Teachings of Lord Caitanya (as original as the copy I received in 1968) On Chanting Hare Krsna, Krsna the Reservoir of Pleasure and of course Bhagavad Gita As it Is.
    These are books printed by KBI (kRSNA BOOKS INC.) Srila Prabhupada’s original works without adulteration nor interpolation! So let us all start with the man or woman in the mirror to push on the Movement of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

  6. Vaisnavananda dasa says:

    Dandavats all glories to Srila Prabhupada

    Dear Madhuvisa prabhu

    Yes, Srila Prabhupada speaks clearly on the difference of a selfless disciple and those who may be materially motivated, however we must be careful that inadvertently we don’t offend anyone who isn’t culpable, and even if they are, we should follow Srila Prabhupada’s example and simply go out and preach. He did not deal with the incorrigible members of the Gaudiya math.

    This website is rendering a valuable service to the worldwide Vaisnava community, keep up the good work!

  7. Krishnapriya dd says:

    Where are the ‘useful disciples’ of His Divine Grace?
    So far all have been “simply useless”. The leaders have not carried out the instruction of Srila Prabhupada. Insteasd the leaders have violated Srila Prabhupada’s instruction to let Him remain the Diksa Guru of ISKCON. And we have either followed blindly or have run away…..

    When will we start to ‘become of little use’ and at least start to strongly object against such ‘Guru avajña’?

  8. sushmita says:

    its a great site for commom people who wish to know the Supreme God, Lord Shri Krishna

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